Maribyrnong council has thrown its support behind a campaign to push the state government to fulfil its election promise to boost Neighbourhood House funding.
Maribyrnong’s five Neighbourhood Houses are among those across the state to effectively have their funding frozen, despite a surge in demand for their services.
Campaigners are highlighting the fact that despite almost 200,000 Victorians accessing Neighbourhood Houses every week, the majority receive weekly co-ordination funding for 25 hours or less.
Victorian Neighbourhood Houses deliver programs and activities addressing issues including unemployment, childcare, family violence and disengaged youth.
Neighbourhood House Victoria acting chief executive Claire Corbett said the current government committed to support Neighbourhood Houses in the 2014 ALP election platform, but three years later had failed to deliver.
She said some Neighbourhood Houses were at risk of closure if no funding increase was forthcoming.
Helen Rodd, who sits on the West Footscray Neighbourhood House committee and the peak body’s advisory group, said each neighbourhood house responded to its local community’s needs with targeted courses and programs.
She said the West Footscray house had a particular focus on food security and social disconnection.
“The funding is completely inadequate,” she said. “We are in a growth area and have had a freeze on funding that has continued since 2012.
“When the government came in almost four years ago, they promised to support Neighbourhood Houses and that hasn’t happened.”
Maribyrnong councillors recently voted to write to Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos seeking an end to the funding freeze.
Ms Mikakos said the government supported Neighbourhood Houses through ongoing funding, including more than $30 million in 2017-18.